Unless the press invitations are deliberately misleading (see the photo above), Samsung will announce its Galaxy S4 smartphone in New York on March 14.
Aside from a teaser video that says absolutely nothing about the device, Samsung has been predictably tight-lipped. But that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from chiming in with plenty of unconfirmed details. Below, we’ll try to paint the clearest possible picture of Samsung’s Galaxy S4 based on the last few months of leaks, rumors and speculation.
Pretty much the entire tech world expects the Galaxy S4 to have a 5-inch, 1080p display, making it Samsung’s largest Galaxy S phone yet. Korean media started reporting on this possibility back in November, and an official roadmap for Samsung Displays leaves even less doubt in our minds.
Despite the larger screen, the Galaxy S4 will likely have a design that’s similar to its predecessor. Though we’ve yet to see a credible image of the phone, there’s no shortage of spy shots and alleged press images that hint at a phone with gently-rounded corners and a large physical home button flanked by back and menu buttons. Much like the Galaxy S3, the S4 will likely be built from plastic, according to well-connected blogger Eldar Murtazin.
According to SamMobile, the phone will measure 0.3 inches thick, and weigh 0.3 pounds. That would make it roughly 0.04 inches thinner than the S3, but a teeny bit heavier.
We’ve already mentioned the possibility of a 5-inch, 1080p display. Other specs for the Galaxy S4 may include a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 2.1-megapixel front camera and 2 GB of RAM, as reported by both SamMobile and HDBlog.it. Storage capacities could start at 16 GB, and go all the way up to 64 GB.
The main point of dispute seems to be the processor inside the Galaxy S4. While Samsung’s Exynos 5 octa-core chipset once seemed like a given, SamMobile claims that the new chip is off the table due to overheating issues. One analyst has speculated that the processor may vary by region, with the U.S. getting a quad-core Qualcomm chip, and European markets getting the Exynos 5.
The octa-core chip’s main benefit would be better battery life through the use of lower-power processing cores as needed. If Samsung is indeed swapping in a Qualcomm quad-core chip instead, hopefully the phone has a big enough battery to keep that massive 1080p display running.
The Galaxy S4 will likely run Android 4.2, according to the same tech spec sources mentioned above, but that’s only part of the story. As Samsung tries to differentiate the S4 from other Android phones, it will likely add even more unique features or build on existing ones such as S Voice and Smart Stay.
For instance, the New York Times reports that the Galaxy S4 will have an eye-tracking camera that can scroll down a page as you read. The S4 may also have a 360-degree panoramic photo feature called Samsung Orb, which would be similar to the PhotoSphere feature found on Google’s Nexus 4 smartphone.
Samsung is holding its debut event for the Galaxy S4 on March 14, so an April launch seems likely, at least in overseas markets. As for the United States, there have been murmurs of a launch on AT&T and Verizon at least, but we wouldn’t be surprised to also see the phone on Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular — all of whom currently offer the Galaxy S3. Wireless carriers tend to announce prices and release dates on their own, so don’t count on Samsung letting all those details out next week.